The saying is that “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
In his latest DOTS memo, the superintendent covers the possible walkouts by N-MUSD students this month to protest gun laws. He notes that in Texas, one school superintendent will subject each participating student to a 3-day suspension.
In 1970, I was 15 and participated in a walkout to protest the war in Vietnam. Students gathered on the front lawn of the school, milled around for a bit with signs and chanted popular protest slogans, then we went back inside and back to class.
The police were there not to enforce anything but to ensure that we weren’t disrupting traffic or putting ourselves in harm’s way.
The superintendent seems to agree with this approach to possible walkouts and I believe this is the correct method.
The larger issue here is a discussion I have had many times over the years. This addresses the subject of what to do when someone whose actions or opinion is usually the opposite of yours, does something that you believe is the correct action. In those cases, the worst thing to do is not acknowledge the good behavior. As I have asked many times, if we do not let these people when they are doing something right, how are they supposed to know?
If more of us were to do this, we would see a huge decline in the level of vitriol that now seems to be the normative response to issues.
The memo is not without some faults, such as the focus on Constitutional rights, but they are minor. The overall direction of allowing students brief time to express themselve is correct.
The superintendent should take this position one step further and convert it into a media release so that the entire N-M community is aware of the situation before it happens. That’s just a routine PR tactic of staying in front of the issue to help reduce the effects of any negative reporting. Without the release, the media control the messages that day.
Otherwise, however, this is the correct tack.